By Leopold Munhende
GOVERNMENT’s Chinese funded new Parliament building under construction at Mt. Hampden, some 32 kilometres northwest of Harare, is now taking shape.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday took time to visit the site to check on progress and heaped praise on China for its continued support to Zimbabwe.
After touring the US$140 million facility, the largest individual Chinese funded project in Africa, Mnangagwa took a swipe at the US for its continued tough stance and restrictive measures on his administration.
“We are happy to see the progress achieved here. In fact, I am so amazed by the amount of progress at each visit which colleagues here achieved over a very short period.
“This is not the only project implemented by China, some have been completed, some are work in progress,” said Mnangagwa.
“When we visited China in April last year, during my discussions with President Xi Jingpin, he waivered all the constraints relating to the incapacity of Zimbabwe in meeting some of its financial obligations to his country in relation to other projects and went ahead to grant us a US$1,4 billion loan facility to construct the Hwange Seven and Eight Power Stations.”
Mnangagwa, in a thinly veiled swipe at the US, suggested the Western power had done “nothing except criticise” in Zimbabwe.
“You will find that detractors will minimise that support. Fortunately, we in government and the (Zanu PF) party fully know, appreciate and are grateful for this relationship
“Those countries who speak against our relations with our good friends have done nothing except to impose sanctions on us,” said the Zanu PF leader.
The US imposed restrictive measures on late former President Robert Mugabe’s regime in the early 2000s of which Mnangagwa was among Zimbabwean politicians blacklisted for electoral fraud and human rights abuses in the country.
A judicial complex and Office of the President will also be added to the new structure.
Already, the main entrance, basement, part of a conical tower that will resemble the one at Great Zimbabwe and all floors are now at a considerably advanced stage.
The new Parliament which is expected to be completed by March 2021 will overlook a new administrative capital “described as a smart city” by Mnangagwa in November 2018 when the project began.
It was Mnangagwa’s third tour to the project site since he took over in 2017 and comes a couple of weeks after the Chinese government released a damning statement indicating Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube had understated their financial contribution to Zimbabwe in his 2020 budget presentation.
Ncube refused to be drawn into explaining the whole charade, arguing the issue is now water under the bridge.
China was represented at the event by Deputy Ambassador Zhao Baogang.